News

Docs show Liberal, Conservative health care cuts hurt families in Sudbury

Health Sciences North operating above safe capacity, as high as 111 per cent, for 24 months straight

Today, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and NDP Health Critic France Gélinas released internal government statistics that show Health Sciences North has been forced to operate well above safe capacity for 24 consecutive months. 

“Years and years of Conservative and Wynne Liberal cuts to health care have done serious damage. Frontline healthcare staff are being asked to do more with less, and patients are paying the price with longer waits and hallway medicine,” said Horwath.

Documents obtained by the NDP under freedom of information laws show that between January 2015 and December 2016, Health Sciences North was operating at 100 per cent capacity every day, reaching at times as high as 111 per cent. Experts deem 85 per cent capacity to be the maximum safe capacity limit. 

At the hospital’s June 2017 Annual General Meeting, it was revealed that there are now a daily average of 35 patients on stretchers in hallways and lounges due to the overcrowding issue. HSN Board Chair Nicole Everest noted: “Unfortunately, operating in a state of overcapacity has become the new normal, not only for HSN, but for hospitals across Ontario.”

Across the province, nearly 60 per cent of medicine wards at large community hospitals are reporting occupancy rates over the safe standard.

The last Conservative government fired 6,000 nurses, closed 28 hospitals and over 7,000 hospital beds. Wynne’s Liberals have done even more damage, with years of frozen budgets and underfunding, shortchanging hospitals by at least $300 million this year alone.

“The Wynne Liberals and the Conservative party are exactly the same when it comes to health care – they cut and privatize at every opportunity,” said Gélinas, MPP for Nickel Belt. “The people of Sudbury and the North deserve better – every family does.”

The NDP has committed to providing strong, predictable base funding for hospitals that will keep up with inflation, population growth and meets the unique needs of northern, rural and small community hospitals. Horwath has called for a moratorium on layoffs of nurses and front line care providers.  Recently, she introduced the NDP’s plan to create Canada’s first universal pharmacare program, providing free medication to all Ontarians, regardless of income, age, or health history. Universal pharmacare can reduce demand on emergency services, and improve health outcomes for many patients, significantly reducing pressure on Ontario’s hospitals and care facilities.

Statement from the NDP on a public inquiry into the Elizabeth Wettlaufer killings

Teresa Armstrong, the NDP Seniors Home and Long-Term Care, and Seniors' Affairs critic, issued the following statement regarding the government’s announcement of a limited review of the circumstances that led to the Wettlaufer killings:

“An inquiry into the system that allowed Elizabeth Wettlaufer access to seniors long-term care homes, her victims, and the drugs she used to kill them, is necessary.

But, when it comes to seniors long-term care, the statement from Wynne’s Liberal government today shows that Wynne has her head in the sand when it comes to broader, systemic concerns within seniors long-term care in Ontario. Clearly, Wynne isn’t listening to the families of long-term care residents who have voiced concerns.

Andrea Horwath, the NDP and I have been listening, and will have more to say in response to those concerns shortly.”

Concert fans doubtful about latest Liberal promise: Statement by Wayne Gates, NDP Consumer Services Critic

Wayne Gates, Ontario NDP Consumer Services Critic, and MPP for Niagara Falls, issued the following statement.

“Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal government put their friends first, and fans last,  when they changed the Ticket Speculation Act back in 2015. Since then Ontarians have had to fight a losing battle for concert tickets against ‘scalper bots’ and online re-sellers who jack up the price way above the face value of a ticket.

With this morning’s announcement the Liberals are trying to take credit for fixing a problem they created in the first place. New Democrats will closely review this proposed legislation and make sure that fans don’t get left behind again by this Liberal government. 

I don’t blame Ontarians who’ve missed out on their favourite shows over the last two years for being skeptical about this latest Liberal promise.”

NDP honours developmental service workers, calls for reliable funding from government

Lisa Gretzky, Ontario NDP community and social services critic, issued the following statement to mark Developmental Service Workers Day.

“New Democrats honour the dedication of developmental service workers who do such an amazing job helping Ontarians with developmental disabilities live full and productive lives in communities across our province.

Wynne delaying tenant protections, creating eviction and rent-hike rush: NDP

Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri DiNovo and NDP Housing Critic Percy Hatfield demanded Wednesday that Premier Kathleen Wynne stop holding back the implementation of recently-passed tenant protections -- particularly since Wynne's move to delay changes is causing some landlords to ramp up evictions and above-guideline rent increases.

Although new laws to protect tenants were passed in May with the NDP's support, the NDP has discovered Wynne is preventing those laws from coming into force. According to an email from the Minister of Housing’s office, the Liberal government claims it needs 12 months to update the forms.

Horwath hosts Pharmacare roundtable focused on tackling barriers to HIV prevention, treatment

Today, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath hosted a roundtable discussion with people living with HIV and leaders in the fight to improve access to HIV treatment and prevention in Ontario.

A key topic during the discussion was the cost of life-saving drugs to treat and prevent HIV, and the NDP Pharmacare plan. 

“Whether it’s PrEP or HIV treatment, we believe that no one should have to empty their wallet to get the medicine they need,” said Horwath. "I'm committed to implementing Ontario's first universal Pharmacare plan when the NDP forms government in 2018 - giving prescription drug coverage to everyone, regardless of age, income or health status.”

GO electrification delay puts RER projects at risk: Statement by Cheri DiNovo, NDP Critic for Urban Transit

Cheri DiNovo, the NDP critic for Urban Transit, issued the following statement:

“Kathleen Wynne has dragged her feet and taken no action on the GO electrification file. By stalling the start of the environmental assessment until it was already a year behind schedule, Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal government have once again put crucial Regional Express Rail projects at risk.

Today’s announcement shows that Liberals prefer to put their political fortunes ahead of the needs of commuters and those who live, work, and go to school near our rail corridors. People have waited too long for the clean, green electrification of our commuter rail network, but Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government prefers to stage distractions and photo-ops instead of getting the job done. 

The environmental assessment, according to the original timeline, was supposed to be completed by fall, 2016, and all those families living along the Union-Pearson Express corridor were promised electrification ‘by 2017.’ I agree with people who now say that they’ll need to elect a new government in order to finally see progress on electrified Regional Express Rail.

Of course, the Conservatives refuse state their position on electrification. After 17 years as a Conservative politician, including nine years in Harper’s government, their leader is a cut-and-privatize politician – not a believer in public services like transit.”

 

Wynne’s hydro hike hurts Ontarians

Ontario NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns issued the following statement.

“For months New Democrats have been calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne to stop a proposed 20 per cent rate hike on hydro delivery charges. For months, the Liberals have refused to listen to the concerns of Ontarians who’ve said they can’t take another increase to their hydro bills.

Statement from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on Drug Costs and the need for Universal Pharmacare

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement regarding the Canadian Medical Association Journal study, released Monday, on drug costs in Canada:

"A new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal paints a picture of a major problem -- one I'm determined to fix with our NDP Pharmacare plan. 

According to the study published in the CMAJ by leading authority Dr. Steve Morgan, Canada has the second highest drug costs for common conditions compared to other countries with universal health care. This new study shows that in order to effectively lower the cost of drugs, we need bargaining power. Only a universal plan will do that - by giving the Government of Ontario the bargaining power of 14 million people.

Dr. Morgan himself joined me in Toronto as I unveiled the details of the NDP's universal Pharmacare plan, and he has fully endorsed it as the best way forward to deliver lower costs, less stress and better health for all Ontarians. It can save millions of dollars -- and it can save lives.

No one should have to empty their wallet to get the medicine they need. I'm committed to implementing Ontario's first Universal Pharmacare plan when the NDP forms government in 2018 - giving prescription drug benefits to everyone, regardless of age, income or health status."

 

Sign up here to support Andrea Horwath and the NDP's plan for universal pharmacare: http://act.ontariondp.ca/pharmacareforeveryone

Liberals committed to two-tiered, privatized healthcare: NDP

Ontario NDP Health and Long-Term Care Critic France Gélinas issued the following statement in response to a report released by the Ontario Health Coalition.

“Today’s report by the Ontario Health Coalition revealed further facts about the very troubling two-tiered direction in which Kathleen Wynne is taking Ontario health care. Wynne is building a health care model in which patients -- whether they can afford it or not -- feel pressure to pay up for basic and necessary health care, and the rest of us wait longer while resources are diverted into that private system.

London Wait times out of control following health care cuts

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, London West MPP Peggy Sattler and London-Fanshawe MPP Teresa Armstrong joined with patients and a concerned local physician Monday to shine a light on the growing wait times crisis for surgeries, tests and treatments in the London area after Premier Kathleen Wynne forced millions of dollars and hundreds of positions to be cut.

“Conservative and Wynne Liberal cuts to health care have done serious damage in this community,” said Horwath. “Patients are waiting at every stage of their care and hallway medicine has become common. Can you imagine if it was your young child, in pain and scared, sitting in an ER waiting room hour after hour because the hospital is backed up? Can you imagine how you’d feel if it were your mother, lying in her hospital gown on a gurney in a high-traffic, noisy hospital hallway for days because there’s no room for her? It’s time to start undoing the damage the Liberals have done.” 

Since Kathleen Wynne became premier and froze hospital budgets for four years, LHSC has been forced to publicly announce cuts totaling 113 million dollars and 328 full-time equivalent jobs. Today, the London Free Press reported a further funding shortfall of $28 million for this year, which will result in 160 full-time equivalent health care workers cut. It’s the fifth straight year of a funding shortfall at the hospital.

Now, according to recent news reports, London Health Sciences Centre has been at or above 100 per cent operating capacity for both its acute-care and mental-health beds in every quarter since the beginning of the 2012. Experts agree 85 per cent is the maximum safe capacity. 

For patients, wait times at LHSC are among the longest in the province. 

Horwath, Sattler and Armstrong were joined by Dr. Sharad Rai, a London family physician who is concerned about his patients being forced to wait. 

“My patients, and patients all across this community and province are being forced to wait far too long to get access to the healthcare they need,” said Rai. “It’s time to have a real conversation about how healthcare cutbacks have prolonged wait times in the London area.” 

Also in attendance at the event was Mrs. Beverley McCann, a London senior who has been waiting over 18 months for a double hip replacement.

“I used to be so active,” said Mrs. McCann. “I played golf, I played with my grandchild, but for the past year and a half all I have been able to do is wait.  I feel like my life has been stolen away from me.” 

The last Conservative government fired 6,000 nurses, closed 28 hospitals and slashed over 7,000 hospital beds. Wynne’s Liberals have done even more damage with years of frozen budgets and underfunding. Wynne is shortchanging hospitals by at least another $300 million this year.

The NDP has committed to providing strong, predictable base funding for hospitals that will keep up with inflation, population growth and the unique needs in each community. Horwath has called for a moratorium on layoffs of nurses and frontline care providers, and she introduced her party’s plan to create the first universal Pharmacare program, because no one should have to empty their wallet to get the medicine they need. Providing drug coverage for everyone – regardless of age, income or health history – can also play a role in relieving stress on hospitals.

LHSC hip replacement surgery wait:

  • Provincial target: 182 days
  • Provincial wait time: 245 days
  • LHSC wait time: 317 days 

LHSC knee replacement surgery wait:

  • Provincial target: 182 days
  • Provincial wait time: 279 days
  • LHSC wait time: 389 days  

LHSC MRI scan wait:

  • Provincial target: 28 days
  • Provincial wait time: 102 days
  • LHSC wait time: 108 days

 

Docs show Liberal, Conservative health care cuts hurt families in Kitchener, Waterloo

Grand River Hospital operating above safe capacity, as high as 117 per cent, for 24 months straight

Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Kitchener-Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife released shocking internal government statistics that show Grand River Hospital has been forced to operate multiple units well above safe capacity for 24 consecutive months.

“Years and years of Conservative and Wynne Liberal cuts to health care have done serious damage. Frontline health care staff are being asked to do more with less, and patients are paying the price with longer waits and hallway medicine,” said Horwath, who was in Kitchener with health care workers and patients on Friday.

Families have waited too long for access to autism services: NDP

Monique Taylor, NDP MPP for Hamilton Mountain, and Children and Youth Services Critic, issued the following statement regarding the announcement made by the Minister of Children and Youth Services.

“Families of children with autism in this province have had to fight Premier Wynne to get access to services for their children. New Democrats are proud to have stood with them against a Liberal government that refused to help for 14 long years.

More than once the Liberal government tried to disqualify children older than 5 from the essential services they need despite the voices of families, and evidence from experts on the proven value of early access to IBI and ABA therapies.

After being treated so unfairly for so long by the Wynne government, I don’t blame families for feeling cautious about today’s announcement. We’ll take a close look at the details. What’s certain is that families have already waited too long for access to autism services.  Children with autism shouldn’t have to wait a day longer for the treatment they deserve, let alone until the spring of 2018.”  

Horwath: Liberal, Conservative healthcare cuts hurt Brant families

Brantford General Hospital operating above safe capacity, as high as 136 per cent, for 23 months straight

Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath released shocking internal government statistics that show Brantford General Hospital has been forced to operate its acute care beds at up to 136 per cent capacity for 23 consecutive months.

“Acute care, mental health and even overflow beds are over capacity at this hospital and many others across the province,” said Horwath who was joined by concerned community members to shine a light on the problem in Brant on Thursday. “This is the result of years and years of Conservative and Liberal government cuts to health care. Frontline health care staff are being asked to do more with less, and patients are paying the price.” 

Documents obtained by the NDP under freedom on information laws show that between January 2015 and November 2016, Brantford General Hospital’s acute care and mental health beds were operating at above safe capacity every day, reaching at times as high as 136 per cent. Experts and the province deem 85 per cent capacity to be the maximum safe capacity limit.

Across the province, nearly 60 per cent of medicine wards at large community hospitals are reporting occupancy rates over the safe standard. 

The last Conservative government fired 6,000 nurses, closed 28 hospitals and slashed over 7,000 hospital beds. Wynne’s Liberals have done even more damage, shortchanging hospitals by at least $300 million this year alone. 

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” said Horwath. “We have to stop the cuts. We have to invest in care. We need a government that’s actually on the side of patients and health care workers, instead of one that just says they are.”

The NDP has committed to providing predictable base funding for hospitals that will keep up with inflation and population growth. Horwath has called for a moratorium on any more nurse layoffs and, just recently, she introduced her party’s plan to create the first universal Pharmacare program, stating her belief that no one should have to empty their wallet just to get the medicine they need. Providing drug coverage for everyone – regardless of age, income or health history – can play a role in relieving stress on hospitals.

Statement by Ontario NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns Wynne won’t stop another hydro rate hike

“Months after the NDP called on the Liberal government in the legislature to stop the 20 per cent rate hike on hydro delivery charges, Kathleen Wynne has done nothing. She just doesn’t get it. Ontarians can’t afford to pay their hydro bills as it is. Each new rate increase is pushing many in the province past their breaking point. 

Instead of listening to people and stopping the sell-off of Hydro One, Premier Wynne went ahead and put her party’s political interests ahead of the public interest. Not only has she handed majority control over Hydro One to private shareholders, but she is doing nothing to stop the utility from jacking up hydro rates for Ontarians even as their CEO gets a 500 per cent pay raise.

This disgusting situation sums up Wynne's attitude toward Ontario families. Only New Democrats have put forward a plan that will fix our broken electricity system, bring down bills by up to 30 per cent for Ontarians, and put Hydro One back into public hands where it belongs.”

Open letter to Mayor John Tory from Toronto NDP MPPs on social housing crisis in the City of Toronto

Cheri DiNovo, Parkdale-High Park NDP MPP, and Peter Tabuns, NDP MPP for Toronto-Danforth, issued the following open letter to Toronto Mayor John Tory addressing his concerns in his letter to Toronto MPPs about the city’s social housing crisis. 

 

His Worship
Mayor John Tory
City of Toronto
Second Floor, 100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

 

Dear Mayor Tory,

Thank you for the letter regarding Toronto's social housing crisis, and the opportunity to reiterate the commitment from Andrea Horwath and the NDP. 

New Democrats are committed to supporting the City of Toronto’s capital repair plan and funding one-third of the repair costs for social housing units, sharing the responsibility equally with the city and the federal government.

Housing Minister Chris Ballard’s response to your letter, that “… the province is more than pulling its weight in making Toronto an even better place to call home and put down roots” is a slap in the face to Torontonians. Premier Kathleen Wynne has allowed Toronto’s social housing units to crumble by refusing to pay the province’s fair share of repairs.

We have requested a meeting with Minister Ballard to discuss the urgent matters raised in your letter, and the impact on Toronto Community Housing units in Parkdale-High Park, Toronto-Danforth and throughout Toronto.

We will once again urge Minister Ballard and the Wynne government to reverse the damage it has done by years of funding cuts to Toronto social housing; and urge the Liberals to finally step up and fund the province’s one-third share of social housing capital repair costs.

Failing that, our commitment to Toronto is solid. Should the NDP form a government in 2018, it will ease the housing crisis in Toronto, in part, by funding the province’s one-third share of social housing repairs.

Sincerely,

[Original signed]                                                                               

Cheri DiNovo, MPP, Parkdale-High Park                              
Peter Tabuns, MPP, Toronto-Danforth

 

Ontarians deserve affordable licensed childcare not empty Liberal promises

Catherine Fife, Ontario NDP Early Years and Child Care Critic, issued the following statement.

“Today’s announcement by Ministers Hunter and Naidoo-Harris does nothing to ease parents’ struggles to find affordable child care in this province. Unfortunately, it was revealed to be little more than a publicity stunt by a Liberal government more concerned about its political fortunes ahead of next year’s election than about the urgent needs of families.

The Wynne Liberals announced a plan to make a plan when it comes to child care and that’s not good enough. The Liberals want credit for years of doing nothing while waiting lists grew and affordable, quality child care became harder to find. Parents deserve action to make affordable, quality, licensed child care spaces available right away.

After 14 years of Liberal government, Ontarians pay the highest child care fees in the nation. For all those moms and dads deciding whether going to work is even worth it, it’s clear the Liberals just don’t get it.”

Quick Facts:

  • There are only enough licensed child care spaces in Ontario for one in five children.
  • Parents in Ontario pay the highest child care fees in the country and wait on the longest lists for subsidized child care.
  • Parents pay an average of $1,152 per child, per month in child care fees
  • Wynne abandoned municipalities, refusing to pay the provincial share of child care costs and forcing municipalities to cut child care spaces.
  • The Liberal government has closed 300 schools, and has another 300 on the chopping block now – some of which housed daycare spaces.

Horwath says Sault byelection has NDP looking to 2018

SAULT STE. MARIE – Thursday’s byelection result shows the NDP overtaking the incumbent Liberals.

Speaking to community members and volunteers in the Sault Thurdsay night, Horwath was looking ahead to 2018. 

“The much bigger fight lies ahead,” she said. “Just a year from now, the people of Sault Ste. Marie – and all Ontarians – will be given a choice not just to change a seat in the assembly, but to change governments. And we’ll give Ontario the choice to elect a government that’s focused on people.